You know those days when you walk aimlessly around your apartment, Cloroxing the tiles in your bathroom so that you can avoid what it is your supposed to do…which is to sit at your laptop and write? You could make baklava off my hardwood right now, it is so clean. To steal from the Princess Bride, you will see your face shining in it by morning. I have spent the day whisking, scrubbing, windexing, Murphying, and sweeping my apartment, in order to avoid what it is my professor / life coach / career coach extraordinaire asked me to do – write my blog into something bigger than it is.
Late last night, he wrote me an email… he had been thinking about what I had written to him weeks ago about my spirituality, or lack thereof. A fellow Catholic, he asked me to attend one Sunday mass a month to see if I find something in it- and as additional homework, to read the Psalms. The Psalms? Is he kidding?… I had those hammered into my head since I was a kid… The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not want…blah blah blah. To what end?
His last sentence was a request – this weekend, “Try to do something unexpected and outside of the normal routine.” While I NEVER swiffer my apartment, I’m sure this is not what he meant.
So I went to a friend’s Central Park picnic to meet her friends, people I did not know, and anticipated staying a polite hour. Instead I began talking to her boyfriend, an opera singer who introduced me to David, an IT advertising consultant with plans to get his PhD in something I can’t pronounce. He also happened to have his Master’s in Divinity. Excellent! So I questioned him about the Psalms. He told me those were the most emotional, angry, passionate parts of the Bible, and that they are a great outlet to see expressions of elation, anger, despair, and gratitude written to God so passionately. Fine, I’ll give it a try. And really, what are the odds of meeting a Divinity professor at a picnic when your coach asks you to explore your spirituality….
Then I met his boyfriend, a professor and maestro, who then introduced me to his friend, a female Lutheran minister engaged to a vegan soldier in Iraq. It went on from there…an eclectic group of some of the most diverse and interesting people I have ever met. They took me in, in all of my Gap-cladness, and accepted me as one who grew up in the Catholic faith, who was rebelling against its teaching, who had her heart broken and was trying to escape the confines of her new zip code. At one point, in seeing my shivers, one took off his sweater to warm me. It was more than a tool of providing warmth…it was a gesture of affirmation. A way of saying, “You’re one of us, you’re accepted. And, holla, you’re pretty kickass.” I added that last part.
I learned more about myself tonight in the presence of people far outside my circle of finance, marketing, film / television and pharmaceutical rep friends. Female Lutheran ministers? Gay Divinity scholars? Conductors and opera singers? And then me. So, Professor, I can say, yes, I did something unexpected and outside of my normal routine tonight. I found kindred spirits in unexpected places…learned much more about myself in the process…and am recognizing that I really very much like who I am in the eyes of other people.